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  1. #26
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    I have found, for myself, that analyzing others' code, figuring out how it works, and then messing around with it to make it do something else, is a great way to learn. I also found some great books when I was starting out, by John Smiley (Visual Basic). And there are some excellent beginners' tutorials on http://www.w3schools.com. Whatever you do, make sure you program, program, program. Just reading books is deadly. It's good to go through books and program all the examples, and then get creative with them ("if I change this here, will it do that instead?", then debug it).

    Hedda Lora

  2. #27
    SitePoint Evangelist compwizard's Avatar
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    I think it is important to note the difference between simply learning enough to edit someone else's code (in the beginning) and really knowing how to program in a language - knowing the theory of the language, how it handles different advanced aspects of the language, etc.
    Compwizard
    "There are 10 kinds of people in this world -- those who know binary, and those who don't."

  3. #28
    SitePoint Wizard Rick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pace
    www.webmonkey.com was the best place for me to start learning. I tried w3c but found myself getting bored easily. Webmonkey take a more light hearted and more thought out approach to the different areas.
    Didn't webmonkey just close down recently?
    Rick

  4. #29
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M@rco


    Anyway, let's stay on-topic. This thread is not about PHP or ASP.
    Sure Enough!!
    Our lives teach us who we are.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Me - Photo Blog - Personal Blog - Dev Blog
    iG:Syntax Hiliter -- Colourize your code in WordPress!!

  5. #30
    The doctor is in... silver trophy MarcusJT's Avatar
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    And this is a particularly good related blog post:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/ericlippert/ar.../01/82168.aspx



    EDIT: And read the followups too:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/ericlippert/ar.../02/82763.aspx
    http://blogs.msdn.com/ericlippert/ar.../02/82840.aspx
    http://blogs.msdn.com/ericlippert/ar.../04/84045.aspx

    In fact, read Eric's entire backlog of posts... all damn good!!
    Off Topic:

    At last, now I have pretty *definitive* references on a number of important VBScript topics that crop up again and again:
    random numbers
    performance tuning 1 & 2
    string concatenation
    etc. etc.

    Now I can point people to Eric's excellent material instead of trying to come up with something myself - after all, he knows Windows scripting inside out (because he either wrote/designed the parts in question, or knows who did and how it was done)!
    Last edited by M@rco; Mar 12, 2004 at 13:58.
    MarcusJT
    - former ASP web developer / former SPF "ASP Guru"
    - *very* old blog with some useful ASP code

    - Please think, Google, and search these forums before posting!

  6. #31
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Good One!!
    Our lives teach us who we are.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Me - Photo Blog - Personal Blog - Dev Blog
    iG:Syntax Hiliter -- Colourize your code in WordPress!!

  7. #32
    SitePoint Wizard jax502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkaiser
    I have a HUGE open-ended question for the more experienced developers. What is the best method to learning a programming language OUTSIDE of traditional brick and mortar educational facilities or even .com college?

    How would a person most become proficient in one language...say, asp.net, in about 1 year under his own steam? What learning methodology, books, websites, papers, and publications would enable an independent learner to do this?

    I am not lazy, I just would like to go about the process in the most systematic, efficient way possible.

    Thank you for your input!
    Just write a program everyday. Practice makes perfect. Learn every functions and capabilities of the programming language you're learning. This way you'll be able to use it to it's full potential. Learn the "CAN DOs" and "CAN't DOs" of the programming language.
    jax502

  8. #33
    SitePoint Wizard
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    The biggest aspect of programming is problem solving. Therefore, starting off, you should spend 99% of your time solving problems from different angles. Once you learn how to effectively solve problems by writing algorithms and developing flowcharts, then you can move on to learning a language and getting into all the idiosyncrasies of the syntax.

  9. #34
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    well said & well put.
    Our lives teach us who we are.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Me - Photo Blog - Personal Blog - Dev Blog
    iG:Syntax Hiliter -- Colourize your code in WordPress!!

  10. #35
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I think some of the try it and see approaches will result in a lot of headbanging. I feel you need to know some background theory that has been taught in class, to explain why things are done that way and not some other way. To have background ideas explained, to have standard solutions given and explained. Then tackle a project, not necessarily for a client. If you take a course of some sort, you will be given a project to do of course. I found that as soon as I had a project that had to be done (but didn't affect someone else) I learned a lot, and applied what I'd been taught in class. Certainly I learned a lot from doing projects, but if you just try it by yourself and make a standard mistake, there will be no-one to tell you why it is wrong and how to solve it.

    I used to teach (not programming) and found that the discovery learning approach as it is called, only works well with the good students. (And those that have stayed with it and are successful now are those who were the good students, so they have a biased view and don't realise it.) The poorer ones discover all the wrong things, and make endless mistakes. Then give up. So they aren't here to tell you this.

    So I'd recommend sign up for a ten week intro course with a local college, see how you get on, and as suggested earlier, write lots of little programs AND MAKE THEM WORK PROPERLY, don't accept nearly okay. Stick to the rules, don't take shortcuts that seem to work, get it right instead. A good mixture of theory and practical work is best, in my opinion.

  11. #36
    SitePoint Zealot Octal's Avatar
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    if you just try it by yourself and make a standard mistake, there will be no-one to tell you why it is wrong and how to solve it.
    I beg to differ. This site alone could resolve any problems they encounter

    The poorer ones discover all the wrong things, and make endless mistakes. Then give up. So they aren't here to tell you this.
    Good. If I wanted to know the best way to learn a computer language I wouldn't want advice from someone that - for whatever reason - gave up.

    Don't get me wrong, attending a course has its advantages, it just seems you are bashing discovery learning from a view point that it didn't really work in a field that was 'not programming'. If a student doesn't have the patience and perseverance to learn from their mistakes from discovery learning then I submit they won't be much better off doing a course
    Octal - All your base-8 belong to us
    "Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
    Willing is not enough, we must do." - Bruce Lee

  12. #37
    The doctor is in... silver trophy MarcusJT's Avatar
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    Just to make a sweeping generalisation (but valid in my experience), I would add that I have noticed that people who tend to rely on course/tutorial-based learning don't seem to have the same aptitude for problem solving / lateral thinking that discovery-based learners do.

    Course-based learners are fine until the problem that they face isn't covered in a book that they have or have read. Then they tend to get frustrated and ask for help straightaway.

    Because of their self-reliance, discovery-based learners will tend to think more laterally about how to apply the programming constructs/functions/methods/objects/etc that they know to the problem at hand. Failing that, they will read through reference material and search the web to find an answer, before resorting to asking someone (or posting) the specific question that they need to solve.
    MarcusJT
    - former ASP web developer / former SPF "ASP Guru"
    - *very* old blog with some useful ASP code

    - Please think, Google, and search these forums before posting!

  13. #38
    SitePoint Member dotwebs's Avatar
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    Smile Dreamweaver Applications

    I might be thrown out of the forum for this - but ... what does anyone think of Dreamweaver MX's web applications? I've just completed an asp member's login with administration area to add/edit/delete and give permissions to users - in about a day (a loooooong day!), all done by following the tutorials.

    The only reason I did this was because up until now I've been using open source applications and the one I chose for a particular job didn't do what it was supposed to do and I wanted to have something that I could expand at a later stage. So, in a desperate attempt to come up with something quickly, I followed the tutorials and found that it worked well for me.

    I intend to do the same with php, jsp and maybe coldfusion and then try to follow the code and learn that way.
    It might be a foolhardy way to learn as I know that DW tends to insert unnecessary code, but it certainly is a convenient way to make your own customised applications (quickly) without spending the same, if not more time manipulating open source material to do what you need it to do.

    BTW This is my first post (of many I hope) on this VERY impressive forum!!

  14. #39
    SitePoint Addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkaiser
    How would a person most become proficient in one language...say, asp.net, in about 1 year under his own steam?
    Understandably, most replies in this forum refer to web technologies. However, if you've never written a program before, web pages may not be the best place to start. Why? Because you need a reasonable grasp of HTML, browser issues, and client-server techniques before writing a program.

    Similarly, Windows-based applications can be frustrating. Whilst Visual Studio has a form designer and completes a lot of code for you, the interface and object-orientated concepts take a while digest.

    To maintain an interest in programming, start with a language that allows you to experiment and see results quickly. Languages that allow functions should be ideal, e.g. QBasic, C, Perl or PHP (run from the command line rather than a web server).

    Once you know the basics - variables, arrays, loops, functions, etc. - you can build on them. These skills are fundamental to all programming languages, whether its C#, VB, PHP or whatever.

  15. #40
    SitePoint Guru marcel's Avatar
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    Use the sitepoint, w3schools and other tutorials.

    Also download free code from sites like Hotscripts and see how other programmers code and solve problems.

    Tip: Stable Open Source ( like phpbb) and purchased scripts often contain good code examples

  16. #41
    The doctor is in... silver trophy MarcusJT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcel
    Tip: Stable Open Source ( like phpbb) and purchased scripts often contain good code examples
    to open source - because it's peer reviewed, bad code gets stomped on pretty damn quickly.

    Not so sure about commercial scripts... the few (ASP) ones I have seen have been absolutely diabolical! There should be a law against code that bad...!!!
    MarcusJT
    - former ASP web developer / former SPF "ASP Guru"
    - *very* old blog with some useful ASP code

    - Please think, Google, and search these forums before posting!

  17. #42
    SitePoint Zealot Octal's Avatar
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    dotwebs, if you can decipher the code generated by Dreamweaver and learn from it then more power to you

    From my experiences with UltraDev the code is horrendous. I find learning is easier when reading human generated code rather than computer generated.

    It's a great way of developing apps quickly but if you don't know how the underlying code works you could be in for a rough time if/when a bug crops up or you need to expand the functionality in ways that Dreamweaver cannot do automatically.
    Octal - All your base-8 belong to us
    "Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
    Willing is not enough, we must do." - Bruce Lee


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